Saturday, April 28, 2018

"I needed you."

When I tell people I work at the hospital (U.VA), I am often asked, "Isn't that a depressing place to be?" and the answer is No! It is not depressing at all. It is because it is such an honor to be with people during what could be the hardest times in their lives. Because of this, there is no time to waste with superficial conversations. We get right to the core of our being. When I walk into their room, I am a stranger. But when I get out my guitar and start to play music, all barriers between us are lifted. Here is a story from yesterday:

I was playing in the medical ICU and going from room to room to see what patients might benefit from soothing instrumental guitar music. Sometimes patients say no because they have a visitor or maybe they are asleep or for some reason I can't play for them.

As I was passing by a room, a female patient waved to me and smiled and asked me to come in her room. I went to her and she was in the middle of eating her lunch. I told her some about what I do and said if she'd like to listen to music, she can even fall asleep if she wants to- there is nothing she needs to do.

I told her how music can help bring down the heart rate and relax a patient and we talked about how being in pain and being ill can really be a stressful situation and one that causes a lot of anxiety and worry. We talked about how music can ease our worried mind and remind us there is hope and beauty and love in the world, that all will be ok.

Eventually, our conversation waned and the woman said, "I'll let you choose whatever piece of music you think is best for my situation." I told her, "I will play you my favorite piece I like to play right now. It is a classical piece called, "Pachelbel Canon."

When I began to play, she pushed her food tray out of the way and easesd back in her bed and closed her eyes. As I played,  she smiled and a serene expression came over her face. She appeared to be very happy and peaceful as she listened. In all my 14 years of playing for patients, I have to say that she was one of the most appreciative of any patient I had ever played for. She listened as if savoring every nuance and note I played.  I saw her heart rate come down.

When I finished, she said, "Thank you so much!! I feel like now I am so relaxed I can take a nap. " I encouraged her to do that (I was getting ready to go home anyway after my session with her.).  She said, "I am so happy you came to see me today. " Then I said that I almost didn't come to the hospital because it was supposed to be my day off. She said, "You needed to be here because I needed you. " I said I needed her too, that meeting her was good for me too and we helped each other. Then she opened her arms and I leaned over to give her a hug. What an honor to have been the recipient of such deep appreciation. Today I am going back. Will see who I meet today!

Thanks for coming by!

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